Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 Treatments

What are the different types of COVID-19 treatment? 

There are three categories of treatment types.

1) Oral Antivirals – These are treatments such as Paxlovid (ritonavir/nirmatrelvir) and Lagevrio (molnupiravir) that are available in pills that you take by mouth at home.

2) Monoclonal Antibodies – These are treatments, like bebtelovimab, that are given to patients through an IV infusion into a vein and are usually administered in a hospital or other health care setting.

3) Intravenous Antivirals – An example of this kind of treatment is remdesivir. This medication is given to patients through an IV infusion and is administered in a health care setting.

What medications are available to treat COVID-19?

Several medicines are currently available for patients with COVID-19 at high risk of severe illness, including hospitalization or death. Eligibility is set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA).

Medicine Type Length of treatment When to start
Paxlovid Oral (by mouth) 5 days Within 0–5 days after COVID-19 symptoms start
Remdesivir Intravenous (IV) 3 days Within 0–7 days after COVID-19 symptoms start
Bebtelovimab (a monoclonal antibody) Intravenous (IV) 1 day Within 0–7 days after COVID-19 symptoms start
Lagevrio (molnupiravir) Oral (by mouth) 5 days Within 0–5 days after COVID-19 symptoms start

A health care provider will determine which medicine is the best option for you. Please call before going to a treatment site or pharmacy.

Contact your health care provider or the provider that is closest to you If a health care provider determines that you need a medication that is not available at the site where you are assessed, arrangements can be made for you to obtain it at another location.

Pharmacy sites provide medications only with a prescription from a health care provider.

Federally Qualified Health Centers may provide certain services only to current patients.

Do I need a doctor’s order to get medicine that treats COVID-19?

Yes. Treatment is available for patients who have been evaluated by a health care provider to determine that treatment is appropriate and which medicine is the best option. Some doctors and health care facilities can evaluate patients by phone or over the internet (also referred to as telemedicine). If you don’t have a doctor, a provider at one of the Test to Treat sites can evaluate you and provide a doctor’s order if appropriate.

Do I need to get a PCR test if I want to get treated for COVID-19?

No. Any direct test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is acceptable to document a COVID-19 infection before starting one of these medicines. This could include a NAAT (e.g., PCR) test, a rapid antigen test conducted in a health care facility, or a rapid antigen test home kit. This could include a PCR test or a rapid antigen test - whether conducted at a health care facility or via a home test kit.

Can I get medicine to keep at home in case I get sick?

No. But if you are not sick right now, this is a great time to make sure you have a plan for how to get treated if you get sick in the future. These medications are available to patients who have COVID-19symptoms and a positive test, are at high risk of severe illness, and have been evaluated by a health care provider.

Can I get medicine to use if I have COVID-19 and I don’t have symptoms?

No. If you have a positive test and you do not have symptoms, you do not need treatment at this time. If you develop symptoms in the next few days, treatment might be available at that time. These medications are available to patients who have COVID-19 symptoms and a positive test, are at high risk of severe illness, and have been evaluated by a health care provider. 

Can I get medicine to use if I’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19?

If you are not sick right now, this is a great time to make sure you have a plan for how to get treated if you get sick in the future. These medications are available to patients who have COVID-19 symptoms and a positive test, are at high risk of severe illness, and have been evaluated by a health care provider. 

Do these medicines prevent COVID-19?

Medication can help to prevent you from getting very sick, but it cannot prevent infection.

The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death, is to get vaccinated and boosted with COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J. Find a vaccination location.

Will I be charged for medicine that treats COVID-19?

The cost of treatment may depend on which medicine you receive. 

Paxlovid (ritonavir/nirmatrelvir), bebtelovimab, and Lagevrio (molnupiravir) have been purchased by the U.S. Government and the cost of medication is free to the patient. However, you may be charged a fee to see a healthcare provider or for medication to be mailed to you. 

Remdesivir is purchased by hospitals and clinics and is not provided for free. If you have health insurance, you may still have to pay a co-pay or deductible. You will have a chance to talk with a health care provider to learn more about the cost and your options before getting treated.

Can someone help me navigate this process over the phone?

Yes. If you have questions about how to find a COVID-19 test, or a place where you can get tested, or a bout how to get seen by a medical provider and get a presription, call Maine's Community Vaccination Line at 1-888-445-4111 for help Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.